This chapter focused on the difference between assessment and evaluation, two concepts that often get seen as the same thing but are completely different. Davies points out that there needs to be more assessment in the early stages of a class and less evaluation, so that students have the time to improve upon their learning and not be graded right away when they still do not fully understand what they are learning. By involving students in the assessment process they will understand more clearly what is expected of them and how the more peer assessment, teacher assessment, and self-assessment they have, the more they will improve upon their own learning.
- 1. Begin by thinking about what you have read so far. Has it confirmed some things for you? Did you realize you were already doing some of this? Did it remind you of anything you had forgotten? This chapter gave me greater clarification as to what the difference was between assessment and evaluation. As a student aspiring to be a teacher, too often do I find professors getting caught up on terminology without actually explaining what exactly they mean. I now feel as though I have a better realization as to what teachers mean when they talk about assessment and evaluation. After reading this chapter I have realized that as humans, we are constantly assessing others based on what we see and know about each other. In my day-to-day life I assess others based on their responses, attitude, beliefs, etc. I would have considered this to be judging people, but it’s not, I am just making notes in my mind so that I can find things to connect with them the next time I am around them. I do not feel as though I had forgotten anything while reading this chapter, but it did help clarify what I was still questioning— when should I assess students and when should I evaluate them.
- 2. Record something you would like to learn more about. Talk with someone else about your thinking. I know from my own experience in high school that if the teacher told us something was not for marks we did not put our full effort into it. Davies’ example that is used has the teacher specifying that their first research project is not for marks, so I am wondering if this is a good idea or if you should first tell students that it is for marks, get their best product, go through the criteria to improve it and then just tell them this was a practice one. Is this to deceiving or not? I am hoping whoever follows my blog will be able to shed some light on my question.
Getting to know your students was essential within this chapter. You need to show them that they have a safe environment to learn in and that you are also willing to get to know them better by involving their parents or guardians in their learning as well. Davies also describes the difference between descriptive feedback and evaluative feedback and that in order for students to become more successful, they need to have more descriptive feedback that tells them how to improve and less evaluative feedback that just provides them with a symbol on how they did.
- 1. Think of a time when you learned something successfully. Make some notes about what you learned, when and where you learned it, who helped you, how they helped, and what kind of feedback you got. Talk with others about your experiences. I was never the best student when it came to the class Biology 30, but my dad said that I could not drop because I may need it someday. Being in a class that I hated, I found it extremely hard to focus on the material because I was so caught up on how much I did not understand what was being said and how this would never help me when I wanted to teach math. One day my biology teacher gave my class an assignment where we had to make a model of a plant cell, make a song about the plant cell, and create a poster that illustrated the parts of the plant cell. Finally I was able to step away from the memorizing of notes and able to do something that I considered extremely fun. My group and I made a model of the cell using play-doh, we made a rap using our own lyrics and beats and we created a giant poster that emphasized all of the parts of the plant cell. I was able to learn all the parts of a plant cell in one night working with my group instead of sitting at my desk memorizing them for hours and hours and still coming up short. My group definitely helped bring to the life what a plant cell was and I was able to better understand it with just this one assignment. The feedback that we received clarified that I actually knew quite a bit about this specific topic in biology and we were also told that we went above and beyond what was expected of us because everything we did was different from the class. This was the greatest feeling in my high school career.
- 2. Build a common list of the kinds of feedback you found supportive for your learning. Talk about the implications for your students’ learning and your teaching.
In high school I found that the best kind of feedback I could receive was:
-This really showed your creativity!
-You can tell you really understood this part of the story.
-Here’s how you could improve on your sentence structure.
-Try using this method to help you solve the problem.
-Here is another way to go about solving this problem; you may understand it more clearly.
-Your grade is attached to the back (if it was in the 90s I was happy, anything below and I would ask on how I could improve).
I rarely experienced any negative feedback, it was all positive or constructive. I think that is extremely important for me to remember as a teacher because I want to give my students as much feedback as possible, but also keeping in mind that I am not there to discourage them from improvement, but rather try to emphasize where they could improve so that their work is their personal best.
- 3. Take time to reflect. How can you use this information to help your students learn more? How can you begin to give up responsibility for being the main source of feedback in the classroom? How can you create opportunities for students to get feedback for themselves that helps their learning? After reading this chapter it is clearer to me that students need as much descriptive feedback as possible from as many different sources as possible. I need to realize that I will seem as the higher authority within the classroom, but that my opinion and my feedback is not necessarily the only feedback they can get. Involving all the students in how they want to be assessed will only benefit their learning more because I will be giving them the opportunity to set what they see as important in their learning. It should also be encouraged in my classroom to extend the feedback to their homes. Giving their parents or guardians the opportunity to help improve their learning by giving their child feedback, will show the students that I do care about the people that are in their lives and that I do not just value my opinion.
Chapter 11 talks about learning circles and the ways in which we can use them to help advantage ourselves in knowing about assessment. Davies suggests that creating a learning circle with colleagues, friends, family, etc. will help enhance our learning in a new way as we discuss common ideas that we share amongst these people. She goes on to describing the possible steps that are needed to take in forming a successful learning circle, they are: starting out small, getting organized together, and sharing the responsibilities.